It has been an incredible year, not just for me, but for many sportspersons in this country. Winning the bronze at the London Olympics was a dream come true. An Olympic medal is the ultimate ambition of a sportsperson and for me, that ambition was fulfilled.
My life transformed completely after that medal. I had won other titles and have always been given a rousing welcome whenever I came back to India, but this time it was out of the world.
It was a very fruitful year for me. I won four other titles in the last 12 months — two Super Series Premiers and two Grand Prix Gold titles. In 2011, when I won just one title, critics termed it a bad year though I had done well in other tournaments. The expectations of my countrymen just keep growing, and in 2013, my aim is to live up to them.
My goal is simple — win as many tournaments as possible. I have maintained my ranking in the top-5 quite consistently and for that, it is important to win tournaments consistently.
I am also working on opening a badminton academy of the highest international standards. I have a number of offers. These things take time so I am waiting for them to materialise.
Sports and badminton, in particular, are going to get a big boost because of what India has achieved in 2012. Children eager to take up badminton should remember that hard work and dedication can get you anywhere. I am fortunate to have a supportive family and an equally dedicated team of coaches. Let your New Year resolution for 2013 be to pick up a badminton racquet!`
(The author, India’s foremost badminton player, won a bronze medal at the London Olympics, 2012)
(As told to Anamika Nandedkar)